Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


SPCA Says “Significant Precedent” Set

19 April 2005

Court Case Affirms Duty Of Care To Animals

SPCA Says “Significant Precedent” Set By Cattle In Flood Judgment

The Royal New Zealand SPCA believes that an important legal principle has been affirmed in the case of cattle forced to swim for their lives in a Northland flood.

Last Friday, the Kaikohe District Court fined the cattle’s owners $4,000, after finding them guilty of breaching Section 10 of the 1999 Animal Welfare Act. The court also awarded $1,915 to the SPCA for expenses involved in prosecuting the case.

The court found that Bruce Riddell Jonson and Jan Dorothy Jonson had failed to move the cattle to safer pastures before the flood occurred, despite the event being “entirely foreseeable” and despite the fact that neighbouring farmers moved their stock.

Section 10 of the Animal Welfare Act requires owners and those in charge of animals to ensure that their physical health and behavioural needs are met in a manner that accords with good practice and scientific knowledge.

“The judgement affirms the duty of care that humans have towards animals, whether they be farm stock, domestic animals or any other living creatures over whom they exercise ownership or control. This is a key principle of the Animal Welfare Act,” says Robyn McDonald, National Chief Executive of the Royal New Zealand SPCA.

“The Jonson case was not one of deliberate cruelty but of carelessness and of a failure to act responsibly on the part of members of the farming community. The court has set a significant precedent concerning the treatment of such cases, by imposing a reasonably heavy fine on the accused, in accordance with the sentencing provisions of the Animal Welfare Act.

“Our legal system is based on the idea of precedent. We therefore hope that other similar cases will now be dealt with in a comparably serious manner. In recent months, judges have certainly taken a more rigorous approach to sentencing in cases brought under the Animal Welfare Act. However, that pattern is still far from uniform,” she says.

Robyn McDonald adds that there is no justification for claims by a Northland Federated Farmers spokesperson that the SPCA, is an ”urban-based” organisation and that the accused in the Jonson case suffered from “a widening gulf of understanding” between urban and rural people.

“The SPCA is active throughout New Zealand and its attitudes reflect those of the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders. Inspectors involved in rural prosecutions are normally themselves residents of country areas, as was certainly so in this latest case. The complainants in this matter were five farmers who made complaints directly to the SPCA.”

“All the SPCA asks of the courts is for the provisions and intentions of our animal welfare legislation to be upheld in convicting and sentencing offenders. The integrity of our justice system demands that there be one law for all, in matters of this sort,” she says.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Corrections Corrected: Supreme Court Rules On Release Dates

Corrections has always followed the lawful rulings of the Court in its calculation of sentence release dates. On four previous occasions, the Court of Appeal had upheld Corrections’ practices in calculating pre-sentence detention. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news